Effects of Immigration on Public Opinion on the Freedom of Movement

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The freedom of movement of persons is a fundamental principle of European integration. Public support for EU policy on freedom of movement is essential, as this might influence the overall public support for EU. This thesis investigates if the personal economic situation and the relative size of immigration affect the public opinion on the freedom of movement.The thesis contributes to existing research on public opinion by examining up-to-date data from the Eurobarometer 85.2 (2016) with a multidimensional approach. It also contributes by exploring distinctions in public opinion on internal immigration and external immigration. The statistical investigation shows that if a person considers her economic situation as very good she is also more in favour of the freedom of movement. The relative size of internal immigration has no direct impact on the opinion on the freedom of movement. However, if individuals perceive their economic situation secure, they are likely to become more positive towards the freedom of movement with increasing numbers of EU immigrants. On the other hand, individuals, who consider their economic situation insecure, are likely to become less in favour towards the freedom of movement with increasing numbers of internal immigration.In parallel, the thesis analyses public opinion on immigration of nationals from outside EU. People who consider their economic situation as very good are more in favour of external immigration. The relative size of external immigration has no direct impact on the opinion towards external immigration; no interaction was found.

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